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Students’ views on junior cycle

July 15, 2011

A chara, – The article on the recently published Consultation with Young People on Reform of the Junior Cycle was headed “Make Irish optional and cut Junior Cycle”.

The report itself, however, paints a very different picture of students’ attitudes towards Irish, which are predominantly positive. Under the heading “Most Enjoy Learning Now” one finds the following “other subjects young people currently enjoy learning in school are science because it is practical and has experiments; Irish because it is easy to learn”. Elsewhere one reads that “those students who learned Irish in the Gaeltacht or French in a language college agreed that learning languages in a practical and engaging manner made them more enjoyable and easier to learn”.

The headline “Make Irish optional” is not at all the main message in the report; in fact one struggles to approach that conclusion even based on the minuscule statistical sample of 88 students (just 29 from Junior and 59 from Senior Cycle) for which there is no evidence of measures to ensure that they are statistically representative of the relevant cohort.

It is a matter of great concern then to find that the consultation “would have an impact on policy decisions in education” as reported in the article. – Yours, etc,

(Dr) SEÁN Ó CEARNAIGH, Programme Manager, Corporate Planning
SEOSAMH Ó COINNE, Programme Manager, Education,
Foras na Gaeilge,
Cearnóg Mhuirfean,
BÁC 2.

The Irish Times – Litir chuig an Eagarthóir